At the Four Seasons
O ALMIGHTY God, who hast committed to the hands of men the ministry of reconciliation; We humbly beseech thee, by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, to put it into the hearts of many to offer themselves for this ministry; that thereby mankind may be drawn to thy blessed kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Ember days are four groups of three days, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday set aside for fasting. They occur after the First Sunday in Lent, Pentecost, Holy Cross Day (September 14), and St. Lucy's Day (December 13). that correspond to the natural seasons of the year. The word Ember is English and is realted to the Latin for the four seasons Quatuor Temporum. Autumn brings the September, or Michaelmas, Embertide; winter, the Advent Embertide; Spring, the Lenten Embertide; and in summer, the Whit Embertide (named after Whitsunday, the Feast of Pentecost). The Embertides are periods of prayer and fasting, and having a collect and reading. Zechariah 8:19 called for four fasts a year "fast of the fourth month, and a fast of the fifth, and a fast of the seventh, and a fast of tenth" In the days of Jesus, Jews fasted on Tuesday and Thursday as Friday was the day of preparation for the Sabath. The Early Church changed this custom and fasted Wednesday because it was the day Jesus was betrayed, and Friday because it was the day he was crucified. In the West, Christians added Saturday to the fasting days in the four seasons. In 494, Gelasius I of Rome, set Ember Saturdays for ordinations at the end of the fast (see Acts 13:3)